The Congress on Monday demanded a judicial inquiry by a sitting judge into the violence in Arunachal Pradesh that left at least three people dead and several injured. The party sought the removal of Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju for accusing the Congress of “instigating” the people.Senior leader Luizinho Faleiro, former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and Arunachal Pradesh Congress chief Takam Sanjoy submitted a memorandum to Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s office.At a press conference, Mr. Sanjoy accused the BJP government in the State of pursuing divisive politics by first bringing in the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and then deciding to grant permanent residents certificate (PRC) to six tribal communities from outside Arunachal Pradesh. “Why does the BJP want to make Arunachal Pradesh a second Kashmir,” he asked. “Kiren Rijiju has tweeted that the Congress instigated [the protesters]. Mr. Kiren you have to prove it. We have urged the Home Ministry to find out who has instigated,” he said. Alleging that Mr. Rijiju, MP from the State, had failed the people of Arunachal Pradesh by not trying to restore normality, the Congress demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi ask him to step down or sack him. PRC issueViolent protests broke out in the State over the decision to grant the PRC to Deoris, Sonowal-Kacharis, Morans, Adivasis and Mishings, who are living in Namsai and Changlang districts of the State and the Gorkhas living in Vijaynagar.Though the State government scrapped its decisions following the protests, the Congress leaders pointed out the situation was tense and Chief Minister Pema Khandu had failed to effectively to handle the situation.
The decision of the Punjab government to appoint six Congress legislators as Minister-rank advisers to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has come under severe criticism from the Opposition parties, which on Tuesday accused the government of overburdening the State exchequer.Five of the MLAs appointed by the government are in the rank and status of Cabinet Minister while one is in the rank and status of Minister of State.Demand for withdrawalLeader of the Opposition and Aam Aadmi Party MLA Harpal Singh Cheema warned that if the decision is not immediately withdrawn, the party will explore legal remedies as the move is an attempt to “bypass the constitutional cap on the size of the State Cabinet”.“When Punjab is already struggling with huge debt burden, giving Cabinet Minister-level amenities to MLAs will bring great loss to the public exchequer,” he said.“We are exploring legal remedies if the State government does not immediately take its decision back,” added Mr. Cheema.The five MLAs in Cabinet Minister-rank are Kushaldeep Dhillon (Faridkot), Amrinder Raja Warring (Gidderbaha), Sangat Singh Gilzian (Urmar), Inderbir Bolaria (Amritsar) and Kuljit Nagra (Fatehgarh Sahib). Tarsem Singh (Attari) has been accorded the rank of Minister of State.The Shiromani Akali Dal also condemned the Congress government for burdening the State exchequer. Former Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said “it seems the Congress is trying to save its government from collapse and has in this process decided to fritter away the scarce resources of the State to its partymen”.“This amounts to daylight robbery of the State exchequer. With the latest addition, the total number of political appointees in the State government have risen to 26. What’s the logic of the move except to fatten its legislators at the exchequer’s expense,” said Mr. Majithia.Claiming that the appointments were illegal and against constitutional norms, he said: “Legislators can’t hold office of profit which these appointments are.”BJP’s national secretary Tarun Chugh told reporters that the decision was an attempt to circumvent the Constitution (91st Amendment) Act, 2003. Mr. Chug said that under the law, the strength of Ministers cannot exceed 15% of the total members of the House. With Punjab Assembly having 117 MLAs, the maximum strength of the Council of Ministers can be 18, and including the CM, the State already has 17 Ministers.